From The Inbox

‘The greatest rule in all of sports’

Play the ball as it lies, reader advises, pointing out that the rule defines the essence of ‘real golf’

I have to disagree with reader Paul Sunderland when he stated that Collin Morikawa was “penalized unfairly when he was not able to clean his ball.” (“From the Morning Read inbox,” June 10).

What makes golf “golf”? Playing the ball as it lies. It’s the greatest rule in all of sports (Rule 9: “Ball Played as It Lies; Ball at Rest Lifted or Moved”). Everyone is treated equally, with no questions asked.

It makes me wince when I see the pros playing “lift, clean, and place.” (I have a different name for that.) Would it matter, if during soft conditions, we always played the ball as it lies? Probably not. Sometimes the ball might pick up mud, sometimes not. In the course of play, it would all even out.  

I do understand that there are times when it is necessary to move the ball – ground under repair, ball on cart path, etc. – but in most cases we should all play “real golf.”

Ken Staroscik
Firestone, Colo.

A sure way to avoid mudballs
Reader Paul Sunderland was upset that Colin Morikawa wasn’t able to clean his ball before playing it during Sunday’s playoff at the Memorial (“From the Morning Read inbox,” June 10).

I have a wonderful suggestion for Sunderland: Find the nearest Topgolf facility in your area and have fun with your buddies. Just leave our great game of golf alone.

Frank Blauch
Lebanon, Pa.

Reader pans idea as being all wet
I laughed out loud when I read reader David Hofer’s suggestion that the PGA Tour should have treated the Memorial Tournament as a rainout and awarded the win to Jon Rahm (“From the Morning Read inbox,” June 10).

Hofer thought the PGA Tour’s decision was “inequitable.” Actually, it was perfectly equitable, as the rules and regulations are in place, and the players and caddies know them. Rahm took the risk of not being vaccinated, got infected, and left the PGA Tour with no choice but to enforce the rules.

It amazes me how many readers write in with their medical opinions, and likely none are doctors nor do they have any kind of real knowledge about what they are opining. Truth is, there is no indication that natural antibodies are a better long-term defense than the vaccine; in fact, studies have shown that the mRNA vaccination antibody response is stronger and more variable than that of natural infection. 

Rahm made his choice, and while I may not agree with it, it’s his choice to make. Maybe he has a medical condition of which the public is not aware. However, if I were a pro golfer with millions of dollars on the line, I would be rolling up my sleeve as quickly as I could.

On another note, Mike Purkey’s piece about Lexi Thompson’s “unprofessionalism” comes off as a member of the media whining that he didn’t get the chance to grill an athlete who just suffered the worst day of her golfing life (“Biggest threat to touring pros comes with only 1 cure,” June 10).

Thompson did not have an “obligation” to meet the press. Would I have liked to see her answer more questions? Yes, but I don’t begrudge her for her limited time doing so. Yes, Palmer and Norman faced the media after excruciating losses, but that shouldn’t make Thompson the villain.

Precedent is not really an issue on this, so it doesn’t matter whether she answered questions at her previous 14 Opens. Most of the questions posed by the media in the press conferences are incredibly inane. I don’t need to hear someone ask, “Gee, Lexi, what happened on the back nine?” or “How important was it to roll in that putt on No. 12?”

Thompson has the right to remain silent.

Gregg Cook
Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Rahm takes his lumps ‘like a stand-up guy’
Reader Robin Lawson from Scotland points out that Jon Rahm might not have been vaccinated simply because it was not his age group’s turn and he did not want to jump the line (“From the Morning Read inbox,” June 9).

Perhaps British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been covering up how far behind the U.S. the United Kingdom is in its vaccination efforts. Rahm easily could have been vaccinated if he had motivated, as we already are offering walk-up shots to all comers, from teenagers up, and all adults have been eligible for quite a while now. Rahm and the apparently 50 percent of touring pros who are not yet vaccinated are responsible for their choices. All easily could have been fully vaccinated by now. 

Whether they don't want to at all, are too lazy to motivate, or think they are being chipped … it's all fine with me. They just shouldn’t whine if they get the disease and develop health problems, or pass it on to a family member or friend. And especially don’t whine about a blown $1.674 million payday.  

Kudos to Rahm for not whining and taking it like a stand-up guy. Especially considering the fine job that the PGA Tour did in notifying him. 

Blaine Walker
St. Paul, Minn.

Overexposed
Isn’t Jon Rahm the perfect storm? (“Jon Rahm tests positive for COVID-19, forced to withdraw from Memorial after taking 54-hole lead,” June 6).

If he had been back in the pack after three rounds, the incident at Memorial would have been a footnote. The PGA Tour would cite its protocols, and no one would care. Done.

But Rahm was leading, and leading by a lot. Now the PGA Tour’s protocols come into question. The Tour was only following the rules.

The problem I have is the way in which he was notified. If he had not been among the leaders, his notification would not have been on live TV.

Charlie Jurgonis
Fairfax, Va.

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